Some leading men are unhappy with the blue clay on which the Madrid Masters is being played, but Serena Williams had no complaints yesterday. "I haven't noticed a difference between the blue and the red clay," Williams said after a 6-3, 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina. "I think it's the same. It's just you don't get as dirty."
Williams is rarely at her best on clay. Although she won the title at Roland Garros 10 years ago, in her last five visits she has never made it beyond the quarter-finals.
The world No 9 has played nine matches on clay in 2012 and has yet to drop a set. Indeed, the only title she has won since August was on clay at Charleston last month.
Williams needed just 69 minutes to beat Vesnina, runner-up in last week's clay-court event in Budapest. Williams hit 14 aces, dropped just seven points in eight service games and broke Vesnina four times. The defending champion Petra Kvitova beat New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-3.